Richard Ghelerter

Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

The recession leveled the playing field for commercial printers. Companies that sold on price alone closed their doors, leaving their competitors in a better position for the future.

Distributors of forms and labels can profit by taking on a colorful challenge. Just what is commercial printing, and how hard is it for distributors of printed business products interested in increasing profits to offer this service to their customers? At Apex Color, Jacksonville, Fla., any printed product that is not a traditional business form is considered commercial printing. "This includes all of our four-color process and spot-color work that runs on our sheet-fed presses," explained Richard Ghelerter, president. "The projects consist of booklets, brochures, postcards, presentation folders, posters, rack cards, manuals, flyers, door hangers, table tents, menus, direct mail pieces, newsletters and

Well thought-out marketing strategies can boost commercial print sales. With all of the ongoing challenges in the print world, manufacturers of commercial print products have found themselves at the helm of aggressive marketing efforts in order to stay on top. "Establishing credibility with distributors is our top marketing strategy," said Richard Ghelerter, president of Jacksonville, Florida-based Apex Color. "One way that we have done this is by participating in the Printing Association of Florida's annual awards, and we have received the association's Best of Category award in commercial printing for four consecutive years." Ghelerter added that receiving such awards looks great on a

From prospecting to production, commercial printing takes a lot of hard work—but the results are beautifully profitable. At Apex Color, Jacksonville, Fla., commercial printing accounted for 30 percent of the work and $3.5 million in revenue last year. President Richard Ghelerter expects these figures to increase and has invested heavily in new equipment, including a five-color 20x26 press, as well as major upgrades in the pre-press department to facilitate that growth. Similarly, Andrea Pesci-Jones, executive vice president for Canton, Michigan-based Stylecraft, reported that in 2003, 25 percent of the company's orders were for commercial printing, generating $3 million in sales. Stylecraft expects that the

Ingenuity plus attention to detail helps distributors land lucrative accounts. When it comes to selling catalogs, brochures and booklets, the question isn't who buys them, the question is who doesn't buy them. Serving as vehicles that market and promote business and list or display information that is pertinent to a company's sales, these items are basic necessities among end-users in any market. As such, distributors can expect them to be fairly easy to sell. The difficulty, however, lies in the way distributors present solutions to end-users that require these products. "Distributors are well suited to go after business in this arena," said Mike

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